Articles | Volume 15, issue 11
Research article
 | Highlight paper
25 Nov 2021
Research article | Highlight paper |  | 25 Nov 2021

Seasonal evolution of Antarctic supraglacial lakes in 2015–2021 and links to environmental controls

Mariel C. Dirscherl, Andreas J. Dietz, and Claudia Kuenzer

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Cited articles

Alley, K. E., Scambos, T. A., Miller, J. Z., Long, D. G., and MacFerrin, M.: Quantifying vulnerability of Antarctic ice shelves to hydrofracture using microwave scattering properties, Remote Sens. Environ., 210, 297–306,, 2018. 
Arthur, J. F., Stokes, C. R., Jamieson, S. S. R., Carr, J. R., and Leeson, A. A.: Distribution and seasonal evolution of supraglacial lakes on Shackleton Ice Shelf, East Antarctica, The Cryosphere, 14, 4103–4120,, 2020a. 
Arthur, J. F., Stokes, C. R., Jamieson, S. S. R., Carr, J. R., and Leeson, A. A.: Recent understanding of Antarctic supraglacial lakes using satellite remote sensing, Prog. Phys. Geogr., 44, 837–869,, 2020b. 
Banwell, A. F. and Macayeal, D. R.: Ice-shelf fracture due to viscoelastic flexure stress induced by fill/drain cycles of supraglacial lakes, Antarct. Sci., 27, 587–597,, 2015. 
Banwell, A. F., MacAyeal, D. R., and Sergienko, O. V.: Breakup of the Larsen B Ice Shelf triggered by chain reaction drainage of supraglacial lakes, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40, 5872–5876,, 2013. 
Short summary
We provide novel insight into the temporal evolution of supraglacial lakes across six major Antarctic ice shelves in 2015–2021. For Antarctic Peninsula ice shelves, we observe extensive meltwater ponding during the 2019–2020 and 2020–2021 summers. Over East Antarctica, lakes were widespread during 2016–2019 and at a minimum in 2020–2021. We investigate environmental controls, revealing lake ponding to be coupled to atmospheric modes, the near-surface climate and the local glaciological setting.